I posted this on Facebook, added a silly caption to it, and got banned from a friend’s profile for doing so. I thought it was fun and innocent, the caption reading, “Save yourself $11: Husbands, love and serve your wife.”
The photo was taken at a friend’s bible-centered church, where she had a birthday party that I was coerced into going — I had to lug my two kids (under two years old) and sorta hung out by myself for an hour. I didn’t know anyone there but her and her husband. This was a courtesy “happy birthday” visit so she could see the kids and I’d get a free lunch out of it.
While chasing my two-year-old around making sure she didn’t get into too much trouble, this book caught my eye. So I dug out the iPhone, took a snapshot of it, and had a cute little witty caption to go with it. I thought it was clever — she did not. Apparently it drove her to tears and that I gravely offended her, so much so that she blocked and banned me from her profile altogether, only after having sent a flaming message to me about how I had wronged her. I had no means to apologize to her directly through Facebook.
So I found her husband’s profile page, and sent my apologies to her via proxy, her husband. But I think the damage is done and she’s made up her mind that I’m a prickly, sarcastic human being that has not a sensitive bone in my body towards others.
I wasn’t always this sarcastic about everything, jaded by so many competing voices and world views within the Christian community — but let’s face it, when you’ve been neck-deep in the evangelical church and involved in leadership positions and seen the good, bad and the extremely ugly, it takes a toll on you.
The last evangelical church we were members of, I remember being at odds with the pastor those last several months. One time in particular, at a leadership retreat, I remember in a time of prayer and “prophecy”, that he had a word from the Lord for me — I was to stop my ambitions of pursuing music and keep it within the church [read “and only use your music to serve as my worship pastor”]. Because music was so central to me, to have a pastor figure say something like that to me in a moment of prayer and “prophecy” was absolutely devastating to me.
I’ve long-since forgiven him and moved on; I’m creating music regularly now and have just finished my third consecutive improv album, totaling 90 days of nightly improv music. And starting this weekend I’m beginning the recording process for my next full-length official release.
But this isn’t about music or my achievements. At the core of this is my disdain for all-things-evangelical. I try to let it go, to not think about it, and especially not to let it creep into my conversations and interactions on Facebook — I still have a lot of friends of varying degrees that would call themselves “born again” evangelical Christians. I disagree with them all on a whole host of issues now that I’ve both been enlightened to the history of the (Orthodox) church, as well as some of the logic issues I wrestle with in terms of “enlightenment” from reading some of Karen Armstrong’s material.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot of internal conflict going on; and it has made me a contentious person.
Maybe it’s partially about feeling I’m “right”, but I think at the core it’s this feeling that the evangelical community (authors, preachers, laity, etc.) are all trying to tell me how to live, what to think, and what to do with my life, time, talents, and money — and they’re going to do it in five simple bullet points that will both fit in the bulletin and on a PowerPoint slide on the front screen.
It’s been a VERY hard road, ever since I left the evangelical community — hard because I feel isolated and as if I were going against a very steep grain of ideology. I’ve lost friends along the way; and tonight I’m sure I lost another one — even after having apologized sincerely. But I won’t apologize for what I feel I’ve become — contentious and rough around the edges; that’s from being caught in the middle of so many competing world views, that it’s hard not to spew out sarcasm or be argumentative from time to time. The evangelical world sorta brings that on — everything’s so black and white to them.
By the way, it is true — you can be an exemplary husband by loving and serving your wife. You can take that for free; I won’t charge you $11 for that little kernel of knowledge.